CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION
CBD oil use for treating depression could help by reducing the breakdown of anandamide (the bliss chemical), to regulating activity in areas of the brain related to emotional processing. CBD may also improve levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows down the firing of neurones which may help relieve anxiety symptoms. By helping to improve sleep and relaxation, CBD may increase quality of life and improve mental wellbeing.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health issues that most of us will face, and left untreated can have a huge impact on our lives.
With a growing awareness over the last 30 years on the importance of mental health, and an increasing prevalence of anxiety disorders, it is becoming ever more important to find ways of improving our mental health and protecting ourselves from anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression can be caused by a number of things, from a stressful or traumatic life event, to abnormal neurotransmitter activity. In the case of abnormal neurotransmitter activity, prescription medications can be used to adjust the balance in the brain, but no prescription medications can rectify a traumatic life event.
Whatever the cause, there is a growing body of evidence for the use of CBD products in this new age to improve well being and in a number of medical settings, including treating anxiety.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
Cannabidiol CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, which is why it is known as a ‘cannabinoid’. As far as the legal definition goes, 'pure' cannabidiol based products are not classified as cannabis-based products for medicinal use. The CBD, once extracted, is added to a carrier oil, like MCT oil for CBD oral drops or tinctures. CBD Oils can be made from one of three specific types of CBD:
- CBD Isolate - this is just cannabidiol without any other compounds.
- Broad Spectrum CBD - this is CBD plus the flavonoids and terpenes found in the plant.
- Full Spectrum CBD - this is CBD plus the flavonoids and terpenes found in the plant and the other main cannabinoid, a chemical compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol- or ‘THC’ for short.
In the cannabis plant, the levels of CBD and levels of THC are inversely related - this means that cannabis plants with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol naturally have low levels of CBD. Plants with higher levels of CBD naturally have lower levels of THC, and if the level is below 0.3%, then the plant is classified as a hemp plant. That is why most CBD distributors will use hemp derived CBD products as opposed to a cannabidiol rich cannabis extract that may have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, which is one of the controlled substances covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Each type of CBD product includes different amounts of the other chemicals found in the hemp plant, with CBD isolate being the only one that doesn’t include any extras from the plant - literally just the CBD.
Broad spectrum CBD contains these extras found in the plant to benefit from the entourage effect. This is the observed action of the other chemicals in the plant working in synergy with the CBD to improve its effect. The only thing it doesn’t include is the psychoactive compound - therefore there is no risk of any intoxication.
Full spectrum CBD is the only form that includes that last cannabinoid in the product. The levels of THC should be too low to cause intoxication, but there have been instances of Full Spectrum CBD products containing higher levels of THC than stated on the packaging, violating the legal definition of CBD products, causing them to be removed from sale in the UK.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBD OIL?
The health benefits of hemp derived CBD products are wide ranging because CBD acts on the human ‘endocannabinoid system’ - so called because it uses cannabinoid-like chemicals - which plays a huge role in how our body communicates with the variety of systems found in us: from the immune system to the nervous system.
The role of the endocannabinoid system appears to be connected to the regulation of our functions to ‘eat, sleep, relax, forget and protect’ - all pretty essential functions, I’m sure you’d agree!
While more studies are needed to confirm the mechanisms at work, the clinical trials conducted so far indicate that the presence of CBD could improve many of the functions related to the endocannabinoid system and has an anti inflammatory effect which is vital in preventing disease.
CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION
Using CBD for depression, or 'major depressive disorder', could well reap beneficial results. As for why, there are a few proposed mechanisms, and it could be that one main mechanism is doing the most of the work, or it could be the combination of mechanisms working together produce the effect that some users see when they take CBD.
What causes depression?
As previously mentioned, there isn’t necessarily a single cause of depression. It is thought low levels of neurotransmitters could be the culprit - *2024 Update - this has been shown to be incorrect, but begs the question why antidepressants work in many cases - it could be down to disrupted communication between parts of the brain responsible for mood, like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. It could also be the loss of a loved one, or experiencing a traumatic event.
This wide range of causes, like post traumatic stress disorder, can make tackling the root of the problem more challenging and, in some cases, impossible. That’s where we need all the help we can get to improve our quality of life, with a view to getting out of depression, if possible. The general anti anxiety effects of CBD could help relieve some of these symptoms.
Why is CBD oil recommended for depression?
Using CBD as an alternative medicine to try and tackle depression could work for a number of reasons. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence; stories from CBD users who have seen improvements in their depression are a powerful recommendation, but that doesn't guarantee every individual will see improvements from utilising CBD for depression.
Animal studies on mice help support the use of CBD for anxiety and depression. T V Zanelati et al clinical data revealed that CBD induces anti-depressant like effects similar to other antidepressant medications, including imipramine, in the mouse model. In animal models, it is thought that by interacting with serotonin receptors, known as 5-HT1A, CBD can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.
Approved nonprescription CBD products may be a better choice than other antidepressant medications. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) prevent serotonin receptors from taking serotonin back into the neurons, increasing the levels of free serotonin. There ae a few adverse effects associated with SSRIs, including feeling agitated or anxious, feeling or being sick, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, loss of appetite and weight loss, dizziness, blurred vision and dry mouth. Most people will only experience a few mild adverse effects when taking SSRIs, and they generally improve with time.
For a long time, it was thought that serotonin levels, particularly low serotonin, contributed to depression. While antidepressant medications were thought to improve serotonin levels, recent reviews found that there is no direct link between depression and serotonin levels, so a new question that requires answering has been put forth - why are antidepressant medications helping to treat depression if the mechanism at play isn't the one we thought? Are there side effects of antidepressant medications that are actually improving mood by another mechanism?
How does CBD oil help depression?
The presence of CBD reduces the breakdown of an endocannabinoid known as ‘anandamide’ - it is nicknamed the bliss chemical and is associated with feelings of joy and happiness. By reducing the breakdown of anandamide, more of it will be present, producing an anti stress effect and potentially resulting in improved mood.
Another mechanism may be low levels of neurotransmitters causing an impaired communication between the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. One study found that stimulating the endocannabinoid system using CBD regulates activity in areas related to emotional processing.
It is thought that cannabinoid receptors CB1 elevate feelings of anxiety and depression, so by acting on these receptors CBD could help to manage anxiety levels.
A separate proposed method by which CBD could help sufferers of depression and relieve symptoms of anxiety is the regulation of a neurotransmitter known as GABA.
This neurotransmitter encourages the slowing down or stopping of neurons firing, and anxiety and stress can cause levels of GABA to decrease, resulting in over-firing neurons. It is thought that CBD can improve levels of GABA, resulting in a return to normal neuron function.
GABA is tied in with anxiety and panic attacks too, with increased GABA function resulting in reduced anxiety. These anti anxiety and anti stress effects illustrate another function of CBD that could be beneficial to sufferers of anxiety and panic attacks, or even those suffering from mood swings due to improving GABA levels in the prefrontal cortex!
Clinical trials studying the effect of CBD to treat depression are promising. One study from Maria S. Garcia-Gutierrez et al indicate that preliminary clinical trials support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic and an antidepressant. The general lack of side effects and positive risk-benefit profile supports the development of larger studies to evaluate CBD treatment for depression.
How to use CBD oil for depression?
When it comes to dosing CBD for treating depression and reducing anxiety, or any other reason, you should start on a low dose and increase it if necessary. This means, for example, taking three drops of low strength CBD oral drops as a single dose, twice per day. This will give you a dose of 7.5mg of CBD per session, or a daily dose of 15mg, for sustained antidepressant like effects.
The important thing to keep in mind when you buy CBD for depression is that it isn’t applied to the skin - this means no topical creams or balms - simply because the CBD doesn’t make it into the bloodstream this way. Using CBD edibles, CBD oral drops or CBD vape liquid will get the CBD into the blood, and therefore to the brain.
The matter of which type of CBD to go for when treating depression to see the most benefits is another good question. Full spectrum CBD will see the entourage effect taking place, but if the source is untrustworthy, you could end up ingesting more THC than you want because they haven’t accurately labelled the product. This could cause unwanted side effects, particularly as CBD behaves differently in the presence of THC.
Why is this a bad thing? Well for most people this is unlikely to be too much of an issue - but for people competing in sports at a high level, even low levels of THC could show up on a drug test, potentially leading to disqualification from competition.
CBD Isolate is a safe bet, in comparison, but doesn’t benefit from the other compounds in the cannabis plant, so no entourage effect is present in CBD isolate products. Therefore, the middle ground that benefits from the entourage effect without risk of exposure to THC are broad spectrum CBD products!
IS CBD OIL SAFE?
According to the World Health Organization, CBD exhibits no abuse potential and does not appear to cause harm in the long term. This is exemplified by the CBD medication Epidiolex, which is administered to children in the hundreds of micrograms per dose to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
You may not be aware, but our canine companions can get epilepsy, too. As dogs, like most animal, have an endocannabinoid system, there is evidence that CBD oil could help dogs with epilepsy!
Approved nonprescription CBD products are available from health food and supplement stores (among others), indicating the high level of safety associated with CBD products that adhere to the regulations. These stores believe in the benefits of CBD!
That doesn’t mean you should start giving yourself a huge dose - you are more likely to experience side effects at higher doses, and small doses are sufficient for many people to start seeing improvements - dosing more than you need is just going to be an expensive waste of your CBD, and could result in experiencing some adverse effects!
Typical side effects include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue, though many people are unlikely to experience them and evidence indicates they may be dose-dependent.
The biggest side effects to be aware of when using CBD to treat depression safely is the impact on other medications. If you are using a prescription medication, see if it has a 'grapefruit juice' warning - this is because grapefruit juice can impact how the liver processes medication. If you are on antidepressant medication, the last thing you want to do is negatively impact its effects, so be sure to speak to your doctor for a long term plan to incorporate CBD into your treatment.
IS CBD OIL LEGAL IN THE UK?
Is CBD legal in the UK? In short - yes! For more information on the legality of CBD, check out our blog article explaining the legal state of CBD in the UK.
The safety profile of CBD is great, with just a few potential side effects like impacting other medications to be aware of. For this reason, we always suggest speaking to a doctor or medical professional if you plan to take CBD oil but are on prescription medication.
PRECAUTIONS FOR USING CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION
If you’ve read this far, then there’s a good chance that you are considering CBD oil for anxiety and/or depression, either for yourself or someone you know. Before making the leap, there are several things to consider for first time users.
CBD has the ability to impact how the liver processes medications, so if you are currently using a prescribed antidepressant medication you should consult your doctor before taking CBD to avoid negative drug interactions, one of the unwanted side effects. If your drug has a grapefruit juice warning then that is a good indicator for speaking to a doctor before using CBD.
Make sure you choose the correct type of CBD for your needs, and avoid products with any amount of THC if you are subject to drug testing. Remember - if you want the maximum benefit from CBD without risk of intoxication, it's the broad spectrum CBD products you want!
When you start on CBD, make sure to start on a low strength product, or in the case of edibles, keep your consumption low. Higher doses of CBD are more likely to lead to side effects, and these can include drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, diarrhoea and reduced appetite.
Starting on a low dose means you can gradually increase the intake of CBD until you see an effect, helping you work out your very own effective dose! Thinking about the long term, starting on a low dose means you have plenty of scope to up the dosage if necessary.
Finally, buying from a reputable, trusted source is important for being able to trust the contents on the product packaging. One particular brand was taken off the shelves because the level of THC was far above the legal level, as well as the level stated on the packaging. In this instance, an unwanted side effect from a CBD product could be intoxication - though low levels would likely only lead to intoxication in a child.
At SMOKO, you can see the certificates from the third party testing for our approved nonprescription CBD products on our website, so you know you can buy SMOKO CBD products with absolute confidence!
Check out our guide to storing CBD to ensure your stored CBD lasts!
CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION: CONCLUSION
There is still much to be learned from studying the interactions of CBD in the body, and while much of the evidence needs to be corroborated in further animal studies, the outlook is very promising for the future of CBD as a new age supplement and treatment for a variety of ailments.
If you are considering using CBD to help with depression, anxiety, or any number of other issues in your daily routine, then check out the SMOKO CBD range for broad spectrum CBD products that you can trust. You can even check out our 3rd party lab test certificates so you know you are getting a high quality product! Just remember to consult a doctor if you are taking medication to avoid unwanted side effects!
Made here, in the UK, from CBD cryogenically extracted from responsibly farmed, organically grown cannabis sativa L plants in Oregon, USA - the range is vegan friendly and gluten free, so check out SMOKO CBD Oil oral drops and edible gummies today!
*2024 Update - Don't miss out on our limited-time offer of a FREE* pack of CBD Gummy Bears when you buy any of our amazing CBD products!